WEEGS 2019 to address women’s advancement
across sectors through 18 panel discussions
Policy reviews, women’s access to capital, tech fuelling the creation of a more equitable world will be among main sessions at Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit
Sharjah, December 06, 2019
Women’s advancement under four pillars, based on the theme, ‘Drivers of Change’, will be under the spotlight at the second edition of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), which will be held on December 10 – 11, 2019, at the Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), WEEGS is organised by NAMA in collaboration with UN Women.
Under the theme ‘Drivers of Change’ the two-day event will feature 18 theme-specific sessions that will bring together a host of local and global experts, women empowerment advocates and senior industry figures to address development horizons and opportunities available to women across four pillars: gender-responsive procurement, women’s participation in value chains, the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), and women’s access to finance.
The opening ceremony on December 10 will present the achievements of those organisations which had pledged to implement some of the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) at the first edition of WEEGS in 2017.
In a session titled ‘Shaping Future Economies’, public and private sector officials in the UAE will review the results of policies set to integrate women’s participation in the economy and discuss the pros and cons of the measures.
In the third session of the day, titled ‘Money Talks’, leaders of financial enterprises will examine why access to capital remains a critical challenge for women entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses. It will address the challenges and offer practical solutions from investment experts who will share insights on how to make a successful bid. It will conclude with a Q&A session that allows attendees to share their challenges and seek practical advice.
Future in STEM and energy
A dynamic group of leaders and innovators who are breaking barriers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and energy sectors, will head the fifth session titled ‘STEM and Energy: Breaking Norms’. They will share their experiences in these fields in which women are under-represented. Their stories of overcoming challenges will create new paths for a future generation of women in those sectors.
In the sixth session of the day titled ‘One World = One Community’, the UAE Minister for Community Development will address women’s important role in community development, given the key role they play as primary caretakers of children and elders across the world.
Tech in philanthropy
In a session titled ‘Creating an equitable world through technology’, the founder of the US-based New Story Charity, a non-profit organisation that provides 3D printed homes to homeless people, will showcase a project that has turned slums into revived cities through the use of 3D technology. The organisation that was founded in 2014 has helped fund community projects in four countries, building over 2,200 homes, and changing the lives of over 11,000 people.
The seventh session of the day titled ‘Nothing for Her, Without Her’ will feature successful entrepreneurs who will narrate their experiences which can be an inspiring source of knowledge and offer a vital perspective to guide policy and investments to ensure they benefit the women who need them.
The last session of Day One, titled ‘Gender-Responsive Procurement – How to make it Happen’, will showcase experiences, good practices and commitments within the private and public sectors to connect women’s enterprises with opportunities and other relevant policies supporting women entrepreneurs and women business owners. Women-owned businesses that are suppliers to large organisations will also share insights into their success.
DECEMBER 11 – DAY 2
Drivers of Change
WEEGS 2019 day 2 commences with a closed session, ‘Drivers of Change: A supportive ecosystem for women in the economy’, the session looks at ways of enhancing women’s capacities and their inclusion in economic development.
The second day of WEEGS will feature an inspiring talk titled ‘Kickstart with Impact’, by Philip Harding, CEO and co-founder of ImpactJunkie, a serial social entrepreneur who was a former senior advisor at the Pentagon as well as the White House and launched ‘The Great Pitch’, which has invested over $16m in innovative ideas to improve government digital services. The second part of the session will have three Education For Employment (EFE) ambassadors presenting videos and talks detailing their journeys.
Moving beyond bias
The second session helmed by a group of successful entrepreneurs will raise awareness on common biases faced by women which are slowing and preventing them from achieving their ambitions and the ways to address them. The underlying idea is that women and men do not necessarily have to be treated the same but need to be given an equal opportunity to succeed in whatever they want to accomplish.
Navigating the digital economy
This discussion titled ‘Responding to the Future of Work’, will address the digital economy’s impact on opportunities and the future of work, and shed light on lifelong learning initiatives and practices. The session will also detail practical actions that women can take to leverage opportunities and be equipped in the digital economy.
The fourth session of the day, titled ‘Youth: Insights from Future Disruptors’, will highlight young changemakers and the impact they have on their local as well as global community. This session will seek to inspire everybody to make a difference in their community. Young innovators will share how they have disrupted conventional ways and forged new paths of success.
Gender-lens investing is an increasing area of interest to international investors and asset managers and an effective strategy to empower women and address gender inequality by international organisations and women’s groups. This session titled ‘Deep Dive into Gender-Lens Investing’, will focus on demystifying gender-lens investing.
Successful young entrepreneurs and social activists will provide insights on how women can be key catalysts to achieve environmental sustainability and social wellbeing in this session titled ‘A Healthier Economy’.
Power of WEPs
This session titled ‘The Transformative power of the Women’s Empowerment Principles’ will how WEPs can empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Leaders in the private sector will narrate stories of successful implementation of the WEPs in their organisations with a special emphasis on WEP 5 – supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
‘Opportunity to grow’
Seven innovative start-ups have been selected by NAMA to pitch at the WEEGS ‘Opportunity to Grow’ session, which aims to connect early stage women-owned start-ups in the UAE to investors and VCs, and help them scale up their businesses. This event will take place over both days of the summit, with pitches being presented and followed by the announcement of three winners. The initiative aligns with one of the four discussion pillars identified for WEEGS 2019: Access to Finance.
The official closing ceremony will be presided over by HE Ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General, Head of Social Affairs Sector – League of Arab States, and HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.
The second edition of WEEGS is being with the aim of achieving the United Nation 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the organisation’s General Assembly in September 2015. The summit reaffirms NAMA’s dedication to bringing together business and opinion leaders and decision makers from public, private and non-profit sectors on one global platform in Sharjah to lead vibrant and action-oriented discussions focused on developing current strategies and exploring potential opportunities to enhance equitable opportunities for women.